Horrorfest: A Comprehensive Analysis

An early promotional picture from the 1943 film 7th Victim.

Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons

An early promotional picture from the 1943 film 7th Victim.

Ella Arnold, Editor

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The woman stands behind the closed door in the dark, her heart pounding, clutching some sort of makeshift weapon. Her eyes dart back and forth, searching for some sort of safety in the blackness. You stare in dread and horror at the movie screen, wishing you could tell her what was behind the door, inevitably waiting. The woman turns her back to the door as you watch, horrified, as the knob begins to turn. You sit up straight, worried for this two-dimensional character on the screen, when the door creaks open, and you jump as the woman lets out a blood-curdling scream as the tension breaks and the frightful creature attacks.

Sound familiar? This fear-inducing moment, along with many others, has become a classic scene of horror that has delighted connoisseurs of cinematic culture since the very first scary movie, Le Manoir du Diable, was released in 1896. But what key elements make these movies quite so scary–and why do moviegoers come back for more? Most importantly, what movie is the scariest…and why? 

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be taking a look into what makes horror movies quite so horrific.  I’ll be watching films ranging from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) to the more-modern IT (2017),  and considering the elements that establish each movie’s iconicism and fear factor.  

I’ve designed a unique ranking scale to determine just how “scary” each movie is, considering the categories of Color Scheme, Costuming, Special Effects, Gore, Date & Time Period, Soundtrack, “The Monster”,  and Suspense Factor. Each category will be ranked on a scale of 10, with justification. By doing this, I can create an overall score of the movie, with the maximum score being 80 points. 

At the end of this series, I hope to determine which movie is the “scariest”, or at least identify what exactly makes these movies so terrifying. Keep up with The Cord to see each new installment.